MNH trains wellness company on medicinal plant identification

MNH trains wellness company on medicinal plant identification
Florante Cruz

Expanding on its mandate to also provide related services to varying clientele, the UPLB Museum of Natural History, represented by its personnel from the Botanical Herbarium and Biodiversity Conservation Education Unit, held a hybrid training for International Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IPI) last 21-25 February 2024.

IPI, a leading manufacturer and distributor of a diversified range of pharmaceutical and consumer products in the country, engaged with the museum to train its farmer-growers and quality control officers so they can easily identify their medicinal plant raw materials in the farm and plant sites.

According to Florante Cruz, the museum’s extension specialist, the training was delivered from 21-22 February via online conference while the onsite component was conducted in a farm operated by IPI farmer-growers in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental. Eighty-five trainees were able to attend the online sessions; 17 of them were chosen to participate in the hands-on activities in Cadiz City.

“IPI wanted its production personnel to gain basic knowledge on how to identify common medicinal plants which their farmers grew,” Cruz relayed in an interview.

The training program’s content was conceptualized by Associate Professor and museum curator Annalee S. Hadsall with the help of museum researcher Michelle A. San Pascual. On the other hand, the training was custom designed by Cruz in consultation with IPI personnel.

According to Hadsall, “the activities done enabled the participants to characterize and then recognize fresh samples of herbal plants.” Meanwhile, San Pascual said that “in order for participants to be familiar with plants, the team facilitated a workshop wherein the trainees prepared accurate descriptor data for each medicinal plant.”

As part of its post-training commitment to the participants, the museum will also produce an easy to use photographic field guide on medicinal plants, and a number of large visual aids to be distributed to IPI facilities.

“We will also be finalizing the descriptor data set which the participants came up with, and this document will serve as their official guide in properly identifying their raw materials from the farm,” Cruz said.


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